Hello, lovely reader who I do not know personally in the slightest! Are you maybe one of my best friends purely because I reveal all my personal information to you in the form of yarns and you unintentionally read them all? Yes? I’ll take it, I have no friends.
Today’s “why the fuck did I decide to do this extremely revealing story” is based around break ups. I’ve had three-and-a-half boyfriends in my life. The half is because I would consider what I had with one guy a relationship but I would say he… doesn’t. So he can be a halfsie.
Anyway! Of those 3.5 boyfriends, 2.5 have broken up with me. The only one I split with of my own volition was the first one. Some of you may say this is because I’m probably a crazy bitch who is needy and insecure! Others may say all these guys were fuckheads! (Thanks parents and friends). And while I have absolutely been a crazy bitch who is needy and insecure at some points in my life, and some of the guys have been fuckheads at times – the reality is (shocker) a bit more complex than that.
I found this out when I made the burning-my-life-to-the-ground decision to send break up texts I’d received from these guys to a dating expert.
That expert is Isiah McKimmie, a sex and relationships therapist. While I sent her my texts hoping for a “I have analysed these and what I deduce is that you’re amazing and these men are stupid and dumb”, what I got was the feeling of being incredibly seen – and a deep lesson on my own fucked-up-ness.
Obviously in the interest of these guys not coming for me with kitchen knives for revealing their texts to the entirety of Australia, I’ve changed all names to hilarious fake ones and churned the details around so even my MATES won’t be able to tell who I’m talking about. Suck on THAT, mates!
I dated Basil for a while in my mid-20’s. We had a very dramatic relationship in which he broke up with me every 3 months. A very healthy cycle, indeed.
When we eventually split, we had a break-up convo not a text meltdown. But I did get this in text form after said convo.
“I don’t think I love you, and I never want to live with a girlfriend.”
I only dated Ferdinand for a few months at best, but it was good times. Just plodded along easily, met friends, met family etc etc. It seemed so good and easy, in fact, that him dumping me felt like it came out of fucking NOWHERE.
We had a break-up convo but it was so all over the place I ended up texting a long, drunken rambling about how GOOD everything was and WHY were we breaking up, blah blah blah, the usual shit. Here’s what I got back:
“I know, I know. I don’t expect a lightning bolt to know you’re the one. I’m sorry for the blindside, it wasn’t my intention. If I’m being honest it wasn’t my intention to even discuss any of that particular stuff on that day. It just happened. You are properly amazing. But when I was being honest with myself and how I feel, my heart isn’t fully in it and if not what is the point? As lovely as everything is, I’m just not feeling that deeper romantic connection. No fault of yours. Just how this guy feels.”
Like Ferdinand, I dated Augustus (how good are these fake names) for around 3-4 months a few years back, and again it felt like a good/easy thing. Although unlike Ferdinand, the Augustus dumping didn’t entirely come out of nowhere – I definitely noticed a distant vibe in the last few weeks, and after calling him on it and having a chat, got this text.
You have everything going for you, everything I look for in a girlfriend. You didn’t do anything wrong – I’m just not ready for another full-blown relationship yet. I need time to work on myself and sort my life out, and I need to do it by myself for now.
SO WHAT’S THE DEAL?
I was originally going to get Isiah to analyse each text individually, but joke’s on me – turns out the three break ups? They show a lot more about ME than they do about the guys.
Here’s what she said.
There seems to be a pattern here of choosing men who are somehow ‘unavailable’ or not in a place to commit.
When there are similarities in the challenges arising in relationships, the kinds of people we’re dating or the way they end, I suggest people look inward to see what they may have unconsciously learned about relationships or what beliefs they have about themselves that might be contributing to this.
OUCH. So basically… I’m actually just drawn to people who will fuck me over with their unavailability because of my own personal shit?
For example, if we saw our parents have a particular pattern, we will often have a similar pattern. Or if we grew up feeling like one of our parents was absent – and we longed for their love and attention – we will often repeat that with our partners, unconsciously choosing people who are emotionally absent.
This hit home hard – my parents are amazing and I had a pretty idyllic childhood. But I’ve always been a sensitive soul and definitely had experiences like Isiah mentions where I felt like I longed for the ~love and attention~ of my parents at times, even though they did give me a great childhood. Plus, my parents relationship was this off/on mess through their teens, so is this some Hereditary movie levels of passed down genetic behaviour or something? Hoo boy.
Here’s another cracker.
I would perhaps also ask were there signs earlier that you weren’t looking for the same thing – or that the connection wasn’t quite there.
ISIAH, FUCK. You’re really ripping my soul out here.
See, like I said – I thought 2 out of 3 of these relationships were good and easy. But if I look at them closely, I notice the cracks. I can see clear signs that the guy in question was less into it or wasn’t looking for a relationship. Signs like – me not being a priority. Me being semi kept out of their life (not meeting friends, not meeting family and so on). Feeling like I was bending over backwards to find time to spend together, or being the one who usually initiated texting conversations. That kind of stuff.
I ignored it in the relationship but looking back now, why did it feel like I was trying so hard and they were barely giving a shit? Real talk – if it feels like you’re flogging a dead horse, you’re probably flogging a dead horse. Consider yourself wisdomed by me.
SO WHAT DO I DO ABOUT IT?
Okay, so I have a penchant for emotionally unavailable men apparently. How do I stop going for these guys who will just break my heart? It’s not like I want to date guys who aren’t going to be able to commit should things go well.
Basically – have a damn conversation, even though you think those things are “intense” and “awkward”.
Research has shown that couples who are willing to have difficult conversations and consciously discuss things like what they want from a relationship, how to manage money and desire to have children, last longer than couples who just ‘see how things go’.
“Seeing how things go” is SUCH a dating thing at the moment. It seems like we all have to pretend to be chill constantly, and any discussion of our needs or the ~future~ is so intense that you’ll self-combust if you remotely start that convo.
I’m not – and I’d hedge my bets that Isiah would agree with me here – saying jump in with the SO WHERE DO YOU SEE THIS GOING DO YOU WANT KIDS WILL YOU MARRY ME ONE DAY chat on date one… or two or three, even.
But what I’m taking from this is a) read the fucking room and recognise when someone isn’t making time for you/seems distant and what that means, plus b) when it feels like the right time, have a conversation about where things are headed instead of smiling and ~going with the flow~ forever until you get your heart squashed by a large Thor-like mallet.
In short – take the blinkers off and have a long, hard look at your past relationships and what patterns they show. Then, be an intuitive lord and recognise when someone’s screaming in your face via their behaviour that they’re just not ready for a relationship (or, ugh, don’t want one with you). And finally, don’t be a pissbaby. Steel up and have a srs convo (when it’s a normal time to do it) to suss if the person you’re dating actually wants the same things you do, whatever they are – so no one’s wasting their time or sprinting down Pain Highway and taking the inevitable exit to Heartbreak Town.